Aviation workers in Hong Kong to take industrial action

December 19, 2012

Aviation workers in Hong Kong will take industrial action before the upcoming seasonal holiday following a breakdown in negotiations last month.

Some 1200 members of the ITF-affiliated Cathay Pacific Airways Flight Attendants’ Union (CPAFAU) voted in favour of industrial action at an extraordinary general meeting on 10 December. The action is likely to take place before the Christmas festivities. Further action has not been ruled out.

The dispute revolves around Cathay Pacific’s unilateral decision to award cabin crew workers a two per cent pay rise. Workers are also angry about an increase in the number of “red-eye” turnaround flights, leaving workers at risk of serious levels of fatigue, and plans to outsource Hong Kong cabin crew jobs to Singapore- , Thai- and US-based workers where salaries are lower.

Apart from seeking a resolution to these matters, the union also wants: better disciplinary and grievance procedures; enhanced medical protection for hourly paid crew; an extension of the housing allowance to cover crew who joined after May 2008; and an improved pay structure.

The workers are demanding that management resume negotiations; talks broke down on 30 November.

Tsang Kwok Fung, general secretary of the CPAFAU, said: “Management unilaterally decided on the pay rise and rejected all the union’s other demands. We found this was totally disrespectful and undermined our mutual trust. But we are also angry about the rise in the number of red-eye turnaround flights and the plan to outsource jobs has caused even greater anger. We have no more patience with management - that’s why we have decided to take industrial action.”

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